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Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... familiar truths of national character. The dictionary had been undertaken by the publisher George Smith as a piece of private enterprise, with no official or institutional backing, and it had been brought to completion in record time by a very small staff. Less fortunate nations, in whom the spirit of liberty and energy of ‘character’ had been suppressed ...

A Use for the Stones

Jacqueline Rose: On Being Nadine Gordimer, 20 April 2006

Get a Life 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Bloomsbury, 187 pp., £16.99, November 2005, 0 7475 8175 4
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... a great public event, or war or revolution,’ she said in her acceptance speech for the 1961 W.H. Smith Prize for Friday’s Footprint, the writer’s ‘view is as private as when he writes of an incestuous love affair’. This is the realm of inner ‘commitment’ which struggles on the page with ‘relevance’, the writer’s unavoidable political ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... which, again, is easier to do if you don’t know them. Edward Pygge could write about Adrian Mitchell’s Semen for Vietnam Appeal in the Review, but when you met Adrian Mitchell, he was a perfectly nice chap and all that. Not that I knew him very well or know him now. I can well imagine that if I did it would ...

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